Photo Upload Guide

Image below water sunburst at surface school of fish, sea lion

Before you can use a photo on a page in AEM, it will need to be added to the Digital Asset Manager (DAM) in the sites console. Refer to the basic authoring guide for a refresher on how to access the DAM in AEM. This guide covers all of the fields that you will need to be aware of in the image properties to manage photos in the DAM. Any fields not mentioned are either not currently used by TNC or should not be used in authoring. For clarification or further questions on topics covered in this document, contact digitalnews@tnc.org.

You will need to do four things to use a photo on AEM

  1. Upload the photo to the DAM (https://author.tnc.org/assets.html/content/dam/tnc/nature/en/photos)
  2. Add properties to the photo
  3. Publish
  4. Add image to a component or to the page properties on a page

Photo Requirements

  • Size: All images must be smaller than 5 MB. Smaller than 1 MB is even better, but it is important that images are large enough to not show as blurry or pixelated on large, high-resolution monitors. Images should still be larger than 1500px on the longest edge. The image size restriction is to maintain page download speeds. 
  • Aspect Ratio: AEM employs dynamic cropping. You do not need to add multiple images in different aspect ratios to the DAM. If you need to crop an image to get particular features to fit in a component, here's a guide to the aspect ratios of photos in common AEM components.

Photo Editing Tips

New to prepping images for AEM? The video and tips below include instructions for reducing the file size of images without losing too much resolution.

Required Metadata Fields in Image Properties

All fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required. You cannot save the photo properties without filling out these fields.

When you open the properties of an asset in the DAM, you will open onto the Basic tab of the properties. This is the only tab in which you will be entering information.


  • Enter a short, descriptive title for the image to display at the beginning of the photo caption. 
  • DO NOT use a non-descriptive title that has meaning only to you, such as DCM_1 or Photo_1. 
  • Character limit: 30

If you are uploading an image downloaded from Vault: It is likely that the title field will pull in a string of letters and numbers from the photo metadata. Replace this with a useful and descriptive title. 


  • Enter a brief caption for your photo. 
  • Character limit: 175

If you are uploading an image downloaded from Vault: It is likely that the description field will pull in the usage terms, description, and copyright into the description field. Remove the extra information and edit the description to include only a brief photo caption. 


  • Enter the name of the photographer and the organization (if applicable) as: Photographer/Organization
  • If the photographer is a staff member at TNC, you'll need to add "/TNC" after their name. Assignment photographers only need their name for the copyright. For example, Bill Marr, TNC Director of Photography, would have the copyright "Bill Marr/TNC," but Jason Houston, as assignment photographer on contract, will only have his name in the copyright "Jason Houston." (NOTE: Bill Marr (The Nature Conservancy) is NOT a correct way to write the copyright.) 
  • Do not add the copyright ( © ) symbol, this will be added by the system. 
  • Character limit: 100 

If you are uploading an image downloaded from Vault: It is likely that the copyright field will pull in the image copyright, but you will need to edit the credit for the correct format and remove the copyright symbol (if necessary). 

Usage Terms

  • Enter the usage rights terms for each image. 
  • When you upload an image to the DAM, you must know the usage rights associated with each image so you can label the image accordingly. N/A is never sufficient for the usage rights field in the DAM photo properties. Other users will be able to search and use images posted by TNC colleagues, so it is important that usage rights are clear in order for additional use to be determined.
  • Some of the standard usage terms used by Vault: All Rights, TNC Rights, Internal Rights, State Use Only (e.g., Florida Use Only), etc. There is no one standard list for usage rights terms as each state and country program can create their own labels and agreements. The Vault usage rights terms guide can be found on the Photography CONNECT site
  • For information on using images Creative Commons licensed photos, review the excerpt below from the TNC photography guidelines.

NOTE on Vault: If you are uploading an image downloaded from Vault: It is likely that the usage terms will have pulled from the image metadata, but into the description field rather than the usage terms field. Move this information to the Usage Terms field.

Tagging your Photo 

To select tags, you can use the tag selector by clicking on the tag icon or begin typing in a tag field and select from the options that auto-generate.

Use only the most specific tags. Broader tags will be included in the tag chain (Example: The tag “insects” will also tag “Animals” and “Species”) and will come up in search for any one of those terms.

Photo Description Tags

Use these tags to describe what is shown in the photo. Use only if the attribute is central to the photo. Categories:

  • Job-Position: Use this tag if the photo features TNC Staff, Volunteers, Trustees, or Board Members. 
  • People: Use this tag if the photo features people. If appropriate, choose from the specific types of people in the next level tags. 
  • Seasons: If the photo clearly depicts a season (e.g. a scene of fall colors or a snowy field), tag the appropriate season. 
  • Visual Attributes: Use this category to tag any additional features that standout in the photo. The list includes a variety of attributes including sunset, rain, night, underwater, flowers, wetlands, rock, wildlife, ocean, river, building, art, and mountain. Select all appropriate tags.

Geographic Location 

If the photo was taken in a place and reflects that place (e.g. Bison in Illinois) include a tag with the most relevant location. If the photo is not location specific, such as a photo of a person in generic coffee shop or hand cupping soil, you can choose to not tag a location.


If applicable, choose tags that represent the main conservation focus of the photo.

  • The topic tag L2 categories available for photos are activities, conservation work, and species. 
  • Generally, we recommend that you choose at most 1-2 tags for each L2. For example, if you are tagging a photo of an oyster restoration featuring staff dumping oyster shells off of a boat, you might use the topic tags: “TNC: Conservation Work/Ocean Conservation/Oyster Reefs” and “Conservation Work/Coastal Resilience” • If applicable, tag only the preserve/place we protect that the photo depicts. 

Places We Protect

Use this tag to indicate that the photo was taken on a TNC Preserve or other protected place.

Business Group

Use this tag to keep track of all of your assets. When you add an asset to the DAM, always select the tag for your OU or department. This is how you will be able to pull up all of your images for an internal search, review or audit. The “Business Group” does not show up on the front-end for the viewer or impact where the image shows up on nature.org.


After completing the page properties and tags, you need to publish your photo before it can be used on a page or in page properties.

To publish, click on Publish in the toolbar at the top of the console screen. If you edit the photo at a later date and add tags or change a field, make sure you publish the photo again to implement the changes.


On the right-hand side of the Basic tab in the asset properties, you will see a list of “References.” This is a list of links to all the pages in AEM where the photo is being used. If you click on one of these links, it will navigate you to that page and away from the asset properties screen in the sites console.